The Green Bay Packers come into the 2022 season after another disappointing playoff exit. Once again the No.1 seed in the NFC, the Packers fell to the No.5 seed 49ers 13-10 in the Divisional Round after not allowing a touchdown on defense.
After marching right down the field for an opening drive touchdown, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense couldn’t find the end zone again for the rest of the game. They scored only 3 more points. Rodgers finished the game 20 for 29 with 225 yards and no passing touchdowns.
After back-to-back No. 1 seeds in the NFC and MVPs for Rodgers, the last two regular seasons have produced one playoff win. Now, after a busy offseason, the Packers will have many questions to answer as they look to achieve their ultimate goal.
Finding a New Top Receiver
The Packers are in need of a new leading receiver after they granted Davante Adams’ trade request by sending him to the Raiders for two draft picks. Adams led the Packers with a whopping 169 targets and 46 Receiving Total Points in 202. That was good for 6 more targets per game and 2 more Total Points per game than the next closest Packers receiver. Not to mention that the next closest Packer WR in 2021 was Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who is now on the Chiefs.
This means the team’s leading returning pass catchers are Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Robert Tonyan (who is returning from an ACL tear). The Packers also drafted Christian Watson from North Dakota State in the second round to potentially fill one of these open positions. There is a ton of pressure on coach Matt LaFleur and Rodgers to figure out this passing game.
The graphic below shows every team’s current roster ranked by Receiving Total Points in 2021.
At running back, the Packers will trot out maybe the best 1-2 running back punch in the NFL. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon’s combination of athleticism and power can be the Packers’ primary source of offensive production. In fact, both Jones and Dillon were top 10 in Rushing Total Points in 2021 with 19.7 and 26.4, respectively. Look for the Packers to rely on Jones more in the passing game as well.
Aaron Jones Key 2021 Receiving Stats
|Statistic||Total||Rank (RBs, min 40 targets)|
|EPA per Target||0.08||16th|
The Packers’ offensive line ranked 14th in Blocking Total Points with 184. However, they did rank 3rd in Pass Block Total Points with 107 even without the services of their All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari. Bakhtiari looks to return this year after missing most of the 2021 season due to complications from an ACL tear in 2020. Left guard Jon Runyan Jr. hopes to continue his success from 2021 after adding 33 Blocking Total Points, good for 29th in the NFL among all linemen.
Young Studs on Defense
In lieu of drafting a wide receiver, the Packers used their two first-round selections to bolster their defensive front seven. They selected two Georgia Bulldogs in linebacker Quay Walker and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt. They should help the Packers improve on a run defense that ranked last in the NFL with 105 Run Defense Total Points (3 points per game worse than the average team against the run). The emergence of cornerback Eric Stokes helped solidify the Packers’ secondary. They ranked 8th in Pass Coverage Total Points with 147, even with the absence of All-Pro corner Jaire Alexander in 2021.
With Rodgers back on a new contract, the Packers will again have the Super Bowl or bust mentality. LaFleur has accumulated a 39-10 record in the regular season in his 3 years with the Packers, but he has failed to reach the Super Bowl. With the clock ticking on the end of a Hall of Fame quarterback career, the Packers are up against the clock in bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home.
James Weaver contributed to this report.